Nano-enabled Energy Conversion, Storage and Thermal Management Systems (NEXT) Group

University of Colorado at Boulder


Director: Dr. Ronggui Yang, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Office Location: ECME 279, Engineering Center

Student Office: ECME 219,

Student Labs: ECME 165, DLC 1B14, ECSL 111 & 113

Tel: 303-735-1003 (O); Fax: 303-492-3498



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1. Current Ongoing Research Projects:

49. DOE/ARPA-E: Advancing Insulation Retrofits from Flexible Inexpensive Lucid Materials (AIR FILMs) for Single-Pane Windiows, PI: Ivan Smalyukh, Co-PI: Ronggui Yang, total:  $1.80M + $150K (CU Matching), Yang’s share: $0.60M, 09/01/2016-11/30/2018

48. Texas Instruments Inc.: Phase Change Cooling using Flexible Thermal Ground Planes for High-Power Applications, PI: Yung-Cheng Lee, Co-PI: Ronggui Yang and Ryan Lewis, $150K, 09/01/2015-08/31/2018.

47. DOD/FlexTech Alliance: Flexible Hybrid Electronics-Manufacturing Innovation Institute (FOA-RQKM-2015-0014). PI for CU Team: Ronggui Yang, et al, total request of federal funding for CU: $2.0M, along with $2.0M Cost-Share from CU, 09/01/2015-08/30/2020.

46. NSF: Collaborative Research: Ultrafast Phonon Lifetime Spectroscopy on 2-D Transitional Metal Dichalcogenides, PI: Ronggui Yang with Mark Siemens (collaborative PI at the University of Denver), $140,000, 09/01/2015-08/31/2018.

45. DOE/ARPA-E: Radiative Cooled-Cold Storage Modules (RadiCold), PI: Ronggui Yang, Co-PI: Xiaobo Yin, with subcontract to Gang Tan (University of Wyoming), total:  $3.00M + $158K (CU Matching), Yang’s share: $1.30M, 07/31/2015-07/30/2018.

44. DOE/ARPA-E: Thermoregulatory Clothing System for Building Energy Saving, Subcontract to Cornell University (PI: Jintu Fan, Total: $3.0M), Yang’s share: $540K+$27K (CU Matching), 04/27/2015-04/26/2018.

43. DOD/DARPA: Mean Free Path Distribution of Phonons in GaN, GaN-on-SiC, and GaN-on-Diamond Devices, PI: Ronggui Yang, $494K, 05/13/2015-05/12/2017.

42. DOE/ARPA-E: Carbothermal Reduction Process for Producing Magnesium Metal Using a Reduced Pressure Hybrid Solar/Electric Reactor, Co-PI with Professor Al Weimer (PI) and David Clough, Department of Energy (ARPA-E), Total: $3.6M (+ $400K University Matching), Yang’s Share: ~15%, 01/01/2014-12/31/2016.



2. Completed Research Projects:

41. Colorado AIA, Flexible thermal ground planes for smartphones and tablets, $150,000, Co-PI with Professor Yung-Cheng Lee (PI) and Li-Anne Liew (Co-PI) and Ryan Lewis (Co-PI), Advanced Industry Accelerator Program by Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Total: $150K + $50K (CU matching), 07/01/2014-2/29/2016, completed.

40. Google Little Box Challenges: Ultra-High Power Density Inverter with Extreme Efficiency, PI: K. Afridi, Co-PIs: D. Maksimovic, R. Erickson, and R.G. Yang, $30,000, 12/01/2014-08/30/2015, completed.

39. DOD/AFOSR STTR AF13-AT07 Phase I: A High Repetition Rate and High Voltage Nanosecond Pulser with Variable Pulse Width Control, Subcontract to Eagle Harbor Technologies (Dr. Tim Ziemba) for AFOSR STTR program, PI: Ronggui Yang, $75K out of $150K total, 01/01/2014 – 09/30/2014 completed.

38. NSF: Student Poster Symposium at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (ASME-IMECE); San Diego California; November 15-21, 2013; National Science Foundation, PI: Chris Hanson and Ronggui Yang, $45,992, 08/15/2013-07/31/2014, completed.

37. DOD/SBIR MDA13-022 Phase I: Thermal Ground Planes for High Power Solid State Lasers, Subcontract to i2C Solutions (Dr. Mike Hulse) for DoD MDA SBIR Phase I Program (MDA13-022), CU Budget: $35K out of $150K total, 01/01/2014-09/30/2014 (Phase II awarded),  completed.

36. DOD/AFOSR SBIR AF131-013 Phase I: Conformable Thermal Ground Plane for Fiber Laser Amplifiers, Subcontract to i2C Solutions (Dr. Mike Hulse) for DoD AFOSR SBIR Phase I Program (AF131-013), CU Budget: $15K out of $150K total, 10/01/2013-3/31/2014 (Phase II awarded), completed.

35. DOD/AFOSR STTR AF10-BT26 Phase II: Quantum Dot Nanocomposite-Based Novel Thermoelectric Materials, PI: Ronggui Yang, Subcontract to ADA Technologies (Dr. Sayan Naha) for AFOSR STTR Phase II Program (AF09-BT22), CU budget: $225K out of $750K total, 10/01/2012-09/31/2014, completed.

34. Gift Fund: Thermal Management Technologies for High Power Electronics, PI: Ronggui Yang, $20K, LSI International, 12/01/2012-.

33. DOD/AFOSR/STTR AF09-BT22 Phase II: Thermoelectric material-coated carbon nanotubes as high conductivity thermal interface materials, PI: Ronggui Yang, subcontract to ADA Technologies (Dr. Sayan Naha), CU budget: $225K out of $750K total, 04/01/2012-03/31/2014, completed.

32. DOE/NREL: Experiments and modeling of nucleate boiling in pool and spray impingement boiling with and without enhanced surfaces, DOE/National Renewable Energy Lab, PI: Ronggui Yang, $225K with reduced overhead, 11/01/2011-11/15/2014, completed.

31. DOD/AFOSR: Modeling and Characterization of Phonon Transmission and Generation across Engineered and Strained Interfaces for Developing Structure-Property Relations of Functional Nanostructures, PI: Ronggui Yang, $465K, AFOSR, Duration: 06/15/2011-12/14/2014, (including 6-month No-Cost Extension), completed.

30. NSF: CAREER: An integrated research and education program on nanoscale thermal transport: developing a high spatiotemporal resolution photo-thermal microscope, National Science Foundation, PI: Ronggui Yang, $400K (+ $60K university enhancement award), 02/01/2009-01/31/2015 (including one year No-Cost Extension), completed.

29. DOD/SBIR DTRA 122-002 Phase I: Conformal Thermal Ground Planes, CU PIs: Y.C. Lee and Ronggui Yang, subcontract to i2C Solutions Inc, $100K total award with $50K subcontract to CU, 04/01/2013-12/31/2013, completed.

28. Investigation of Thermal Characteristics of C-Textiles for Heating & Cooling Garments, PI: Ronggui Yang, $30,000, QinetiQ to DARPA iMINT Center, Duration: 02/01/2011-05/01/2011, completed.

27. DOD/AFOSR STTR AF10-BT26 Phase I: Quantum Dot Based Novel Thermoelectric Materials, PI: Ronggui Yang, subcontract to ADA Technologies, CU budget: $35K, Duration: 06/15/2011-3/15/2012, (Phase II awarded, see #35), completed.

26. Equipment Fund for Enhancing Research Capability and Competence, University of Colorado, PI: Ronggui Yang, $100,000, 10/01/2010 -. completed.

25. NSF MRI: Development of a Coherent and Incoherent X-Ray Facility at JILA: Ultrafast X-Ray Science and Technology at the Nanoscale, NSF, PI: Margaret Murnane, Co-PIs: Ronggui Yang, Ralph Jimenez, and Henry Kapteyn, NSF $1.28M, CU/NIST Matching: $550K, 09/01/2010-08/31/2013.  completed.

24. DOD/DARPA: Molecular Layer Deposition-Enabled NanoThermal Interfaces (M-NTI), DARPA BAA09-25 (MTO Office-wide Seedling), PI: Ronggui Yang, Co-PIs: Steven M. George, Y.C. Lee, and Victor M. Bright, $400K, Yang: $160K, July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, 1 summer month, completed.

23. DOD/DARPA: Modeling and Characterization of Quantum Dot Thermoelectric Nanocomposites, CU PI: Ronggui Yang, sub-contract to Marlow Industries for proposal High Performance Thermoelectric Quantum Dot Microcoolers (Marlow PI: Jeff Sharp, total ~$3.9M)” to DARPA BAA 09-44 (Active Cooling Modules), CU Share: $306K, 07/01/2010-06/30/2012. completed.

22. DOD/AFOSR STTR AF09-BT22 Phase I: Thermoelectric material-coated carbon nanotubes as high conductivity thermal interface materials, PI: Ronggui Yang, subcontract to ADA Technologies, CU budget: $30K, 07/01/2010-03/30/2011, (Phase II awarded, see #33), completed.

21. DOD/DARPA Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology for Integrated Micro/Nano-Electromechanical Transducers (iMINT Center), Co-PI with Y. C. Lee (PI) and 10 other Co-PIs, submitted to DARPA RA 09-42 (N/MEMS Fundamentals), total: $5.0M from DARPA, Ronggui Yang: $70K per year, 07/01/2010-06/30/2013. completed.

20. Novel Silicon/NixSn1-x Core-Shell Nanowires for Superior High Capacity and Long Lifetime Lithium-Ion Batteries, PI: Ronggui Yang, University of Colorado Innovative Seed Grant, Total: $41,200, 07/01/2009-06/30/2010, completed.

19. A micro-scale hybrid wick heat pipe cooling system for high concentration photovoltaic cell, University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office Energy Initiative Proof of Concept Grant, PI: Chen Li, Co-PIs: Victor M. Bright, Ronggui Yang, Y.C. Lee, Total: $50K, 04/01/2009-03/31/2010, completed.

18. DOE/NREL: Modeling and experiments in the nucleate boiling regime in the context of power electronics cooling, DOE/National Renewable Energy Lab, PI: Ronggui Yang, $175K, 10/01/2008-09/30/2011, completed.

17. DOD/DARPA: Surface Plasmon Enabled High Efficiency Thermoelectric Devices, DARPA MTO Young Faculty Award, PI: Ronggui Yang, $150K, 06/01/2008-11/30/2009, completed.

16. DOD/AFOSR: A Design tool for nanostructures with tunable thermal properties, AFOSR (BAA 2007-08 Discovery Challenge Thrusts), PI: Ronggui Yang, Co-PIs: Kurt Maute and Martin Dunn, $600K, 03/01/2008-11/30/2010, completed.

15. DOD/DARPA: Flexible thermal ground plane with micro/nano wicking structures, DARPA (BAA 07-36 Thermal Ground Plane), PI: Y.C. Lee, Co-PI: Ronggui Yang, Chen Li, Victor Bright, G.P. “Bud” Peterson, and Suraj Rawal, $4.0M, Yang: ~$1.0M, 03/01/2008-11/30/2011. Completed.

14. Nanowire-based metamaterials for miniaturized antennas, DARPA iMINT Center Seed Grant, PI: Won park, Co-PIs: Ronggui Yang, Y.C. Lee, and Pavel Kabos, T. Mitch Wallis, Jim Booth, Total: $50K, Yang; $0, 04/01/2008-03/31/2009. completed

13. NSF MRI-Consortium: Acquisition of a Supercomputer by the Front Range Computing Consortium, National Science Foundation (Award #0821794), one of ~50 CU Faculty Participants with PI Henry Tufo, $4.0M, Yang: $0, 8/1/2008 - 7/31/2012. completed

12. Nanocomposite thermoelectric materials development and characterization, Lockheed Martin Corporation, PI: Ronggui Yang, $50K, 10/25/2007-11/15/2008. completed

11. NSF: A design-centered approach to nano-engineering, National Science Foundation, PI: Kurt Maute, Co-PIs: Martin Dunn and Ronggui Yang, $329,957, 09/01/2007-08/31/2011, completed.

10. Understand the building with your eyes: building and environment science and technology visualization Lab. CU-Engineering Excellence Fund, co-PI with John Zhai. $26,695, 05/01/2007-04/01/2008. completed

9. Unrestricted gift fund, $6,000, 10/15/2007 ~.

8. DOD/AFOSR: Energy harvesting and storage systems and their integration into AF aero vehicles, Air Force Office of Scientific Research - Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (AFOSR-MURI); PI: Minoru Taya, Co-PI with 8 other co-PIs, total: $6M, CU: $1.50M, Yang: $500K, 05/01/2006-04/30/2011. completed

7. NSF: Measurement of thermal transport in nanostructures using EUV pump-probe systems, National Science Foundation; PI: Ronggui Yang (Funded through the NSF Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology - NSF EUV ERC), $50-70K annually, 05/01/2006-09/30/2013. completed

6. DOD/DARPA iMINT Center Core Research: ALD-enabled packaging for integrated MEMS/NEMS, DARPA Focus Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology for Integrated Micro/Nano-Electromechanical Transducers (iMINT), PI: Y.C. Lee, co-PI: Ronggui Yang, $100K annually, 09/01/2006-08/31/2009, completed.

5. NSF: Constructing a femtosecond nanometer resolution photo-thermal imaging system using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) to study nanoscale thermal transport, National Science Foundation; PI: Ronggui Yang, Co-PI: Margaret Murnane, $94,919, 09/01/2006-08/31/2007. completed

4. Photonic crystal fiber based micro capillary pumped loops, CU Technology Transfer Office Proof of Concept Grant (POCg); PI: Ronggui Yang, $12,500, 12/01/2006-05/31/2007. completed

3. Photonic crystal fiber based micro heat pipe arrays and capillary pumped loops, CU Engineering Dean’s Seed Fund for Novel Ideas; PI: Ronggui Yang, Co-PIs: Y.C. Lee and Victor M. Bright, $10,000, 06/10/2006-12/31/2006. completed

2. Unrestricted gift fund, $15,000, 08/15/2006 ~, completed.

1. University of Colorado Start-up Funds: Equipments + Discretionary, PI: Ronggui Yang, $410K + student support, 01/2006 – 01/2009, completed.


B). RESEARCH AWARDS (to PI Professor Ronggui Yang):

2015 Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME)

2014 Marquis Who’s Who in America (from 69th and subsequent editions).

2014 ITS Young Investigator Award, International Thermoelectric Society (ITS)

2013-2017 S.P. Chip and Lori Johnson Faculty Fellow of Engineering, CU-Boulder.

2013 Outstanding Research Award, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CU-Boulder

2013 JSPS Invitation Fellow (Short Term), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

2012  Provost's Faculty Achievement Award, Office of the Provost, CU-Boulder

2011 Steve Woodward Outstanding Faculty Award, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CU-Boulder

2010 ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer (The Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer is given to a young engineer who is under 36 and has received a Ph.D., or an equivalent degree in engineering. Citation for this award: For developing modeling and experimental tools to understand micro/nanoscale thermal transport and for innovative applications of micro/nano-structure in macroscale forms for energy conversion and thermal management. ASME Press Release)

2010 Dean’s Award for the Outstanding Junior Faculty Member, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado

2010 Biography featured as a technology developer with outstanding potential that could reverse the decline in the book “The Rise and Fall of American Technology” by Dr. Lynn G. Gref.

2009 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.)

2009 Selected as one of the <100 Invited Participants, the US National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) 15th U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. US NAE Press Release.

2008 Technology Review’s TR35 Award (one of the 35 young scientists and technologists in world who are under the age of 35, but their work--spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, energy, and more--is changing our world.) TR35 Profile, US AFOSR Press Release, CU Press Release

2008 DARPA/MTO Young Faculty Award (one of the 39 rising stars in university microsystems research), DARPA Press Release, CU Press Release

2008-2011 Sanders Faculty Fellow, College of Engineering and Applied Science, CU-Boulder.

2008 Outstanding Research Award, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CU-Boulder.

2008 Nominated for IEEE/ACM William J. McCalla ICCAD 2008 Best Paper Award by the conference organizers of the 2008 International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD).

2005 Best Paper Award – Research, InterPACK 2005 (the ASME/Pacific Rim Technical Conference and Exhibition on Integration and Packaging of MEMS, NEMS, and Electronic Systems), 1 out of 500+ papers.

2005 Goldsmid Award for Excellence in Research in Thermoelectrics, International Thermoelectrics Society.

2004 NASA Certificate of Recognition for a Technical Innovation (Space Act Tech Brief Award), NASA Inventions and Contributions Board.

2003 Elected full member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.


C). AWARDS RECEIVED BY THE ADVISEES (Check out the People Page):